Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Raise It: Bucs Broom Cards 5-1

Nice start, Juan - a pair of whiffs and 97 MPH heat. The Bucs scored once in the first and had the bases loaded against Mike Leake, but Josh's liner to the box ended the damage. Nicasio picked up a couple more K in the second, tho he did give up a two out single to Kolten Wong. It stayed 1-0 thru four frames; Juan has been en fuego while Leake is stayin' alive, but at 80 pitches.

Pittsburgh added on in the fifth when lead-off guy John Jaso banged one off the Clemente Wall, steamed into third when Stephen Piscotty had trouble playing the ricochet and scored on a bad relay throw; nothin' like a Little League homer against the Redbirds. After an out, David Freese & Starling Marte singled and were sent home by Fran's double into the LF corner. That ended Leake's night as Tyler Lyons took the ball. He walked El Coffee, who has been seeing the ball well against LHP in the early going. Josh banged into a 5-4-3 DP to ruin the fun, but 4-0 looks good.

Fran's double was the big blow in tonite's sweep contest (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Cards answered when Jeremy Hazelbaker, who doubled for his first MLB hit last night, homered to right center. Nicasio's heater is down a couple of notches to 94; we'll see how he holds up. OK so far; two punch-outs and a fly followed.

That bell rings both ways. Jordy walked and S-Rod, hitting for Nicasio, doubled him home thx to a nifty slide. Morse's long fly to The Notch moved him to third. In came Jonathan Broxton, who issued Cutch an intentional walk. Broxton got the next pair looking; both third strikes may have been gifts. Juan did good in his first start, going six innings, giving up a run on two hits, no walks and seven whiffs on 84 pitches.

Arquie climbed the hill while S-Rod went to first. He picked up a K (on another iffy third strike call) and wowed the crowd when he lit the gun at 102...impressed us, too. He sizzled multiple 100 MPH heaters, w/92 for the slider. The Bucs went quietly. Caminero walked the first guy, whiffed the next, and had a dazzling grab by Josh to turn a single into a force; a review overturned the field call of DP. A double put runners at second and third. Tony Watson took over after Cammy hit the wall at 34 pitches, and did what he does, getting a 4-3, nicely played again by Josh, to shut the door in the eighth.

A quiet Bucco half brought Cory Luebke to the hill in the ninth. With two out and two on via a walk and ground ball single, Clint waved in the Shark; the skipper's automatic in save situations. Cory had some command issues, but was sitting at 93 and hit 95, so his arm isn't an issue, tho butterflies might be. Four pitches later, the game was in the books and MM had his first save to go with Nicasio's first win.

With the days off, no problem with burning Watson & Melancon, who threw seven pitches between them, and Nicasio carried over his spring performance. The Bucs still stranded 10 runners, but a five spot is a good night's work. It's a travel day and the show moves down the Ohio to Cincinnati.

  • Cory Luebke made his first MLB appearance since April 27, 2012, as a Padre.
  • The last time the Pirates started a season 3-0 was in 2007. The downside is that Jim Tracy's club only won 65 more games after that; the upside is the campaign got Dave Littlefield canned. It's the first time they've swept a three-game series at home to start a season since 1973, also against SL.
  • The last time the Bucs tripled in each of their first three games was 1910, per @EliasSports.
  • At Pirate City, JHK played five innings on D and batted four times. He's still limited to running to first with no left turns yet. Jared Hughes tossed off the slope of the mound; he had been limited to flat ground throwing prior to today.
  • 1B/OF Jake Goebbert, DFA'ed on OD, was claimed by Rays. He was added to the Tampa Bay 40-man and sent to AAA Durham.

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